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Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
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Tara snapped off several coils of yarn and handed them off to Henry. The other two women drew closer, and Tara ignored them both as she grabbed at the piece of loose wood Henry had tripped over in the first place, hefting it over one shoulder. "I'm taking this," she said. "Got my own plans."

But then the girl spoke. No, that wasn't right: Bryony spoke. Hesitant, and hungry. And Henry rushed to her, offering her his food.

"He's right," Tara said, smiling at the other man. "Here." She pulled out a ration bar, and then Tara's stomach rumbled, imagining what that brackish bar would taste like. She glared down at her stomach, hating herself for the moment's weakness.

"Sorry," she said, pushing the bar into Bryony's hand. "Sorry."

Weak. So weak. Nothing to be done, nothing to be gained, everything spiraling. Who was this man who just wanted to fish? There was a story there, and a damn good one. Fishing as the world burns around you. Way better than a fiddle.

But she had no time for fiddling or fishing. She had burning to do.

"Sorry," she said again, bouncing the piece of scrap on her should. "I gotta...I gotta go."

Too many confrontations, too many questions, too much doubt, and too many dead. Faces lingered in her mind. Jasmine and Jane.

"Good luck," she said, and her eyes lingered on Henry. "You, uh...you seem like you're doing good."

She was on the move again, heading off the dock and moving along the pebbly beach. Her ribs still hurt, and her stomach ached with hunger to the point she was almost nauseated by it, and all she could think of were the strange looks on the two girls' faces, so at odds with Henry's good cheer. So much strangeness on this island, and on all the islands before. So many ghosts, so many mistakes.

And she couldn't escape that cycle, either. Just one more repetition in an endless pattern. And here she was, reiterating herself, until her walking ghost became weary and faded away.

(or burned away to ash)

She stopped well out of sight of the others, staring out at the cool ocean. She dropped the piece of wood at her feet, and her ribs ached and her neck chafed beneath her collar and her bandaged arm burned.

Ropes, chains, strings leaving them bouncing in the sea. Everyone just baiting each other, as the predators lurked out in the deep water.

She sat down in the sand.

Again, the red nail polish: again, the best inscription she could manage. She tried to remember exactly what had been said on the announcements, but failed to come up with anything for Jane. She knew Danya had said something about Jasmine trying to win, but...

But did the Announcements matter? This wasn't like Cris and Abby. She'd known both these woman. Jasmine, the boisterous, bossy woman behind the stage, always good for a quick laugh or a quick joke, someone Tara had felt comfortable around. And Jasmine, a gossip who Tara would never have trusted in her wildest dreams, but whose death had had some dignity, or why would Danya have remembered her declaration?

In Memoriam: Jane Madison, who thought she could tell the world what to do.

In Memoriam: Jasmine King, who thought she could win an impossible game.

She lifted the makeshift plaque up to the sky. She showed it in front of her, then behind her: to the left, then to the right. It was all she could do, before she died. Before she burned.

She built another pyre, and the smoke rose, and she breathed in the toxic fumes and closed her eyes. Her other arm twitched towards the fire, but she didn't put it in. She needed her strength. Just for a little while longer, she needed her strength.

[Tara Behzad concluded in The Inferno.]
Edited by Grim Wolf, Jan 18 2017, 02:22 AM.
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V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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